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Swiss health authorities approve functional food margarine

The Swiss health authorities have given the green light for the sale of a new kind of margarine which, according to the producers Lipton-Sais, has a beneficial effect on bad cholesterol.

This content was published on October 15, 1999 - 10:38

The Swiss health authorities have given the green light for the sale of a new kind of margarine which, according to the producers Lipton-Sais, has a beneficial effect on bad cholesterol.

The Federal Health Office said the product belonged to a relatively new category of food products often referred to as “functional foods.” Those products claim to provide value-added health benefits.

The new product, called Becel pro-activ, was introduced under a different name in the United States in May. Just as in the U.S., the margarine package will carry a label specifying that the margarine “helps promote healthy cholesterol levels” – provided consumers already lead a healthy life-style.

The margarine contains plant stanol ester, a nutrient the makers claim will help consumers better manage cholesterol.

The Swiss health authorities said laboratories were currently examining more than 20 similar functional food products, mostly from the dairy and biscuit sectors.

Most of the product applications are filed by pharmaceuticals companies, the office said.

The functional food products – which are clearly on the increase – cannot be marketed as medicine in Switzerland, even though the product may claim to have beneficial health effects.

A Health Office spokeswoman said Swiss legislation was clear in calling for consumers to be protected from false or misleading claims that might otherwise be made by the producers of functional foods.

From staff and wire reports.

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